I have attended SWRFA (Southwest Regional Folk Alliance) in Austin for the past four years. Each year upon arrival, you have the opportunity to pick a song assignment with the goal of presenting the completed song to the SWRFA attendees at the closing Sunday Brunch. No small challenge considering the grueling schedule and limited time available to write.
My assignment this past year was "Look At Your Hands". I was amazed at how quickly this song started to come together. It was almost as though I was waiting for a kick in the pants to get it started. Now don't get me wrong, as with all songs I write, they seem to get off to a good start but the words always trip me up. I went back and forth on a number of approaches until I reached a point where I felt I had found the right combination. It took a little longer to work out the arrangement but eventually with the help of an Austin Songwriters Group and Jack Saunders, it settled into this version.
I had spoken with Jack earlier about recording a song with him and so we set out on our quest. Jack is an amazing talent and we had a great time putting this together at his White Cat Studio in Houston. After laying down the basic acoustic track and lead vocal, Jack added Mandolin, along with National Steel and standup bass tracks. We kept harmonizing during playbacks so it was only natural that adding more vocals became our next assignment. I contacted two of the best voices I know to see if they were available to join us for this song. Sara Golden and Ken Gaines accepted and met us at the studio. The laughter began almost immediately. Of course, the tequila that Jack supplied may have helped loosen up the evening a bit faster than normal. Tasty! So were the harmonies and within an hour we had completed the vocals.
This is the first song on the list for a new record, CD or whatever format that appears as the standard this year. I plan to work with producer and multi-instrumentalist, Chris Gage (Moonhouse Studios - Austin) to complete this song along with a number of others I have in the cue. I don't normally record this way, but for some reason a few songs from this project seem to be growing organically so who am I to question the muses.
Thanks for taking the time to listen. RpT
LOOK AT MY HANDS
There are folks in this world who struggle and fight
The injustice that smothers this land
As I watch them I hope things will be alright
And wonder, do they need a hand?
Look at my hands are they working for freedom?
Look at my heart is it love that I share?
Look at my life is it worth all this living
If I don't lend you a hand?
There are others in this world who live for themselves